Business & Industry

Mar 1, 2017


The extraction sustainability through renewal, the relation between cost, quality and use, makes wood, as a raw material, an odd resource. Its growth in forests is the best way to capture carbon from the atmosphere and return oxygen and, moreover, is a material whose growth and maintenance is practically free, and the application in the construction excludes CO2 emissions.

In the last decades the wood industry has undergone great transformation, not only in the technological sense, but mainly due to the ecological sustainability. If on one hand the legislation has gone in the most restrictive sense, forcing the activity to join the afforestation, on the other hand the fact of being "natural" and renewable, makes it the most sustainable and ecological of the raw materials.

Characterization and performance of the activity

The wood industry is generally composed of three main activities: lumber, sawing and transformation. The lumber also results in three application areas: construction, which ranges from buildings to furniture, through the pallet industry, floor and railroad tracks; paper and derivatives; fuel, in its new forms, condensed or as charcoal.

The use of wood by man is as old as mankind itself, and only comparable with the use of stone. The wood has unique characteristics as a temperature and humidity regulator due to hygroscopy, and its homogeneity and anisotropy give it resistance that may be higher than that of concrete in certain species such as oak, obtaining an optimal resistance-to-weight-to-cost ratio for the construction, or it can be malleable as is the case of the ferry.

Softwood comes from evergreen trees such as cedar and pine. Although there is no difference in application, there are more frequent applications such as interior furniture, particleboard and paper pulp. They are more resistant to pests (insects, fungi and bacteria), and have a faster growing. The hardwoods come from deciduous trees such as cherry, mahogany or oak and whose main applications are exterior construction, high quality furniture, floor doors or decks.

The trade of wood, in general, has been increasing consistently since 2014. The price per cubic meter of timber (both hardwood and softwood) despite variations, characteristic of raw material volatility, tends to consolidate and forecast a growth of around 3% in a business that has doubled in value over the last 10 years and which is estimated to be worth more than 300 billion dollars. After the crisis in the sector between 1998 and 2001 due to the reduction in supply and price increase, mainly related to the production of pulp, and the crisis of 2008-2014, whose impact was verified mainly in the relation that this sector has with the construction, the emergence of new economies and markets in China, India, Brazil, Russia and Africa made the imports and exports of wood increase again and it is expected that consumption by 2030 will increase by 60% to 2,400 million cubic meters.(*)

From a pessimistic scenario that anticipated the reduction of the business with the reduction of  the usage of paper and its recycling, the reduction of wood in construction, to the detriment of other new materials, (who does not remember the stainless steel and glass tables from the 1990's), and even the consumption of wood as fuel (firewood), the truth is that the demand for agglomerates, pellets (fuel made from pressed wood) and ecological construction have reversed these perspectives and negative trends and the industry and trade of wood grows today in a sweeping way.

Africa a wooden continent

Wood exploitation in Africa reached a peak during the nineteenth century with industrialization in Europe and the colonization that fed it. From the Second World War and subsequent wars of colonies independence the wood extraction and sawing industry in Africa virtually disappeared. With the return of political and social stability it is again developing, with last year reaching USD 3.6 billion in exports and being the fastest growing region (**), and China its largest importer and commercial partner.

Ghana is the third largest African wood exporter to Europe, and the largest African exporter to the rest of the world. India and Europe are its largest importers of wood.

Ghana is the beneficiary of the first fund project for afforestation and sustainable timber exploitation, worth USD 14 million, approved by the African Development Funds Bank.

Over the past 15 years this country had a sustained growth of 7.4%, which has led the World Bank to declare that "Ghana has evolved into a mature and stable democracy."

Miro Forestry Company is a sustainable logging company with more than 30,000 hectares in Ghana and Sierra Leone. It is focused on fast growing plantations for the production of poles, sawn timber, and woodchips. Both for the domestic market and for export.

(*) Source: FAO; Timber Trade Federation; Globalwood; ITTO;

(**) Source:,

Contacts: Miro Forestry Company * P.O. Box 3 Agogo, Asante-Akyem North - Ashanti, Republic of Ghana

General Enquiries: *

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